Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

MISE AU JOUR D’UNE VILLA DE L’ANTIQUITÉ


À Vire (Calvados), l’Inrap conduit depuis la fin du mois de février 2018 une fouille d’envergure, sur prescription de l’Etat (Drac Normandie). Cette opération s’inscrit dans le cadre de l’extension du Parc d’activités La Papillonnière menée par la communauté de communes Intercom de la Vire au Noireau.

Les recherches d’une équipe d’archéologues ont permis de mettre au jour les vestiges d’une villa gallo-romaine occupée du Ier au IIIe siècle de notre ère. Ils témoignent de la richesse de son propriétaire. À l’ouest de la villa, le site livre également les vestiges d’une occupation plus tardive, entre les VIIe et Xe siècles.

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Hidden writing in ancient desert monastery manuscripts

Fr Justin is helping to share online the historic manuscripts in an ancient Sinai monastery

For a monk who lives in the Sinai desert in Egypt, in the world's oldest working monastery, Father Justin replies to emails very speedily.

It should come as no surprise: the Greek Orthodox monk is in charge of hauling the library at St Catherine's into the 21st Century.

This ancient collection of liturgical texts, including some of the earliest Christian writing and second in size only to the Vatican, is going to be made available online for scholars all over the world.

The manuscripts, kept in a newly-renovated building which was opened to the public in December 2017, are now the subject of hi-tech academic detective work.

East meeting West
A team of scientists and photographers working alongside Fr Justin has been using multi-spectral imaging to reveal passages hidden beneath the manuscripts' visible text.

These include early medical guides, obscure ancient languages, and illuminating biblical revisions.

Among the researchers is Michelle P Brown, professor emerita of medieval manuscript studies at the University of London.

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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

South Downs skeleton 'executed 1,000 years ago'

The well-preserved skeleton, thought to be from the 11th Century, was found during excavations in the South Downs

A man whose remains were unearthed by construction workers was executed about 1,000 years ago, archaeologists believe.

The well-preserved skeleton, thought to be from the 11th Century, was found during excavations in the South Downs.

It is thought the man, found in a grave on Truleigh Hill near Shoreham, West Sussex, was aged between 25 and 35.

Bone analysis put the date of his death between 1010 and 1023, while cuts to the neck pointed to a violent end.

The skeleton was found intact, but with no signs of a coffin, with only a few bones missing from his hands and feet in 2015.

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Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Viking houses from 1070 found in Cork dig at former Beamish & Crawford brewery


Excavations at a former brewery in Cork have uncovered the foundations of 19 wooden Viking age houses from the 11th and 12th centuries.

Some of the structures date back to 1070, making them 30 years older than any housing previously excavated in the city.

The dig at the former Beamish & Crawford factory also found three stone walls and a doorway from St Laurence’s Church, dating back to the 13th century.

Cork’s urban layout as a Viking city dates from around the same time that Waterford began developing as a Viking city, but archaeologists have yet to find any evidence on Leeside comparable to a trading post established near Waterford in the ninth century, archaeologists have found.

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Iceland’s founding fathers underwent a rapid, 1000-year genetic shift


Scientists analyzed the ancient genes of skeletons belonging to some of Iceland’s first settlers, like this one discovered in a grave near the island’s northern coast. 
IVAR BRYNJOLFSSON/THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF ICELAND


If modern Icelanders came face-to-face with their founding fathers, they’d be hard-pressed to see much family resemblance, according to a new study. That’s because today’s Icelanders have a much higher proportion of Scandinavian genes than their distant ancestors did, suggesting the islanders underwent a remarkably rapid genetic shift over the past thousand years.

Previous studies have hinted as much based on inferences from modern genotypes, notes Jonathan Pritchard, a population geneticist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who wasn’t involved in the work. But the new findings offer a rare, direct glimpse of the founding of a new people. “I don’t think this has been shown before in any human population.”

Medieval histories suggest Iceland was first settled between 870 C.E. and 930 C.E. by seafaring Vikings and the people they enslaved, who possessed a mélange of genes from what is now Norway and the British Isles. For the next thousand years, the population of Iceland remained relatively small and isolated, hovering between about 10,000 and 50,000. Impeccable genealogical records and broad genetic sampling have made Icelanders—who now number 330,000—a model population for geneticists hoping to connect the dots between gene variants and traits.

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The Genes From Iceland's First Settlers Reveal The Origin Of Their Population In Detail

Skeletal remains of an ancient pre-Christian (<1000 C.E.) Icelandic female 
[Credit: Ivar Brynjolfsson/The National Museum of Iceland]

In just over 1,000 years, Icelanders have gone through numerous changes in their gene pool, to the extent that Iceland's first settlers, who came to the island from Norway and the British and Irish isles between the years 870 and 930, are much more similar to the inhabitants of their original home countries than to Iceland's present-day inhabitants.

This is one of the main conclusions of a study carried out by an international team of scientists which included members of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). For the first time, the researchers, whose results are published in the journal Science, analysed the ancient genomes of 25 individuals who lived in Iceland during the colonisation of the island.

With a population of 330,000, Iceland is a country with its own peculiarities. Genes are no exception: isolation and inbreeding throughout its history make this northern Atlantic island a paradise for genetic studies.

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Archaeologists uncover 'treasure trove' of artefacts at Pictish fort

A pin decorated with a bramble is among items discovered at the Pictish fort
UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN

A "treasure trove" of Pictish artefacts has been discovered in the remains of an ancient fort on the Moray coast.

The building near Burghhead is believed to have been destroyed by fire in the 10th century as the Vikings invaded.

It spelled the end of Pictish life in the area but the blaze preserved material that would normally have rotted away hundreds of years ago.

As well as a complex layer of oak planks in a wall, archaeologists have uncovered jewellery and animal bones.

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